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Steven Spence

Steven Spence Verified in Google 

nerdy; stargazer; legend in my own mind; wannabe photographer, may post occasional spider pictures - you have been warned!

Occupation: IT Manager (at a large corporation)

Location: Germany

Followers: 19,330

Following: 3,450

Views: 60,284,072

Cream of the Crop: 08/14/2012

Added to CircleCount.com: 08/05/2011That's the date, where Steven Spence has been indexed by CircleCount.com.
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Activity

Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

14
comments per post
5
reshares per post
110
+1's per post

662
characters per posting

Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 57

posted image

2016-07-08 22:41:30 (57 comments; 24 reshares; 254 +1s; )Open 

*One person, one species *
 
Here is a great story about one mans fascination with butterflies. For centuries, the California pipevine swallowtail — or, Battus philenor hirsuta — called San Francisco home. As development increased in the early 20th century, the butterfly slowly began to disappear. Today it is a rare sight. Then aquatic biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, Tim Wong decided to do something about that.
 
"He researched the butterfly and learned that when in caterpillar form, it only feeds on one plant: the California pipevine (Aristolochia californica), an equivalently rare flora in the city. 'Finally, I was able to find this plant in the San Francisco Botanical Garden [in Golden Gate Park],' Wong says. 'And they allowed me to take a few clippings of the plant.' Then in his own backyard, using self-taught techniques, he created abutterfly p... more »

Most reshares: 25

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2016-06-26 09:20:46 (2 comments; 25 reshares; 81 +1s; )Open 

The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water (Karl von Frisch, Nobel Prize winner and decoder of bee dances)

This is a fascinating article about bees' ability to learn and store memories. Yes, bees sleep and probably dream. ( I did not know this )

h/t +George Cohn 

Most plusones: 276

posted image

2016-07-27 07:00:46 (31 comments; 5 reshares; 276 +1s; )Open 

Something New (for me)

I hadn't encountered this behavior before. A black kite ( milvus migrans ) on the ground in the woods. I was walking through a local river valley (Remstal) and on a meadow next to woods. I heard something in the woods and immediately stood still to look. I thought maybe there was a deer near me. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the shade, but when they finally did I saw a bird shape in the area I was scanning. A rather large bird in fact.

I was only able to get two photos and yes, there are branches and leaves between us. This is just how it is most of the time in nature. I'm pretty sure the kite was watching for rodents nearby on the meadow. There were lots of mole holes and some mouse paths out there. Probably it was in a good spot to see what happened and yet remain under cover.

I was very pleased to be so close to one of... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2016-07-30 17:59:40 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

Bees Love Them

The bees really seemed to enjoy climbing in these flowers to get nectar.


As a bonus it's #pinkandgreen which should appeal to +Mz Maau 

Bees Love Them

The bees really seemed to enjoy climbing in these flowers to get nectar.


As a bonus it's #pinkandgreen which should appeal to +Mz Maau ___

posted image

2016-07-30 17:53:18 (5 comments; 1 reshares; 45 +1s; )Open 

Lazy Day

I'm not feeling motivated to read research or write anything today, so here's a picture of a "damselfly" from last weekend.

Have a great weekend!

Lazy Day

I'm not feeling motivated to read research or write anything today, so here's a picture of a "damselfly" from last weekend.

Have a great weekend!___

posted image

2016-07-27 22:30:51 (11 comments; 0 reshares; 53 +1s; )Open 

Another data point. The best pesticide is no pesticide. Use plants or biological control agents (ladybird beetles, etc.) when you can. If a pesticide is your best recourse, use wisely and use sparingly.

Male bees have lower sperm counts when exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides
 
According to The Proceeding of The Royal Society B, "There is clear evidence for sublethal effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on non-target ecosystem service-providing insects.". In addition they have also found neonicotinoids will, "significantly reduce the reproductive capacity of male honeybees (drones), Apis mellifera."
 
"The data clearly showed reduced drone lifespan, as well as reduced sperm viability (percentage living versus dead) and living sperm quantity by 39%. Our results demonstrate for the first time that neonicotinoid insecticides can negatively affect male insect reproductive capacity, and provide a possible mechanistic explanation for managed honeybee queen failure and wild insect pollinator decline."
 
Neonicotinoid pesticides work by entering the plant, and protecting it from insect attack. The target insect "pest" ingests the sap from the plant with the insecticide in it, and dies. The problem, the pesticide is also found in the nectar of the plants.  The "non-target" bee ingests that nectar, and takes some of the pesticide back to the hive while gathering the nectar. 
 
Drones are the males of the honeybee world. The sole purpose of the drone bee is to mate with the queen at the appointed time. Once mating is complete, the drone dies. If their sperm count is reduced by up to 39%, as the study indicates, this might explain some of the difficulties honey bees are currently experiencing. 
 
The study can be found here:
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/283/1835/20160506
 
#bees 
#pesticides 
#drones 
 
(Photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim/GNU 1.2)___Another data point. The best pesticide is no pesticide. Use plants or biological control agents (ladybird beetles, etc.) when you can. If a pesticide is your best recourse, use wisely and use sparingly.

posted image

2016-07-27 21:04:28 (21 comments; 7 reshares; 136 +1s; )Open 

Mongolian Dinosaur Fossils

Help keep these incredible fossils in Mongolia and open to scientific investigation instead of being smuggled out on the black market.

Also don't miss +Emily Willoughby 's artwork.

Mongolian Dinosaur Fossils

Help keep these incredible fossils in Mongolia and open to scientific investigation instead of being smuggled out on the black market.

Also don't miss +Emily Willoughby 's artwork.___

posted image

2016-07-27 07:01:23 (18 comments; 7 reshares; 100 +1s; )Open 

Something New (for me)

I hadn't encountered this behavior before. A black kite ( milvus migrans ) on the ground in the woods. I was walking through a local river valley (Remstal) and on a meadow next to woods. I heard something in the woods and immediately stood still to look. I thought maybe there was a deer near me. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the shade, but when they finally did I saw a bird shape in the area I was scanning. A rather large bird in fact.

I was only able to get two photos and yes, there are branches and leaves between us. This is just how it is most of the time in nature. I'm pretty sure the kite was watching for rodents nearby on the meadow. There were lots of mole holes and some mouse paths out there. Probably it was in a good spot to see what happened and yet remain under cover.

I was very pleased to be so close to one of... more »

Something New (for me)

I hadn't encountered this behavior before. A black kite ( milvus migrans ) on the ground in the woods. I was walking through a local river valley (Remstal) and on a meadow next to woods. I heard something in the woods and immediately stood still to look. I thought maybe there was a deer near me. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the shade, but when they finally did I saw a bird shape in the area I was scanning. A rather large bird in fact.

I was only able to get two photos and yes, there are branches and leaves between us. This is just how it is most of the time in nature. I'm pretty sure the kite was watching for rodents nearby on the meadow. There were lots of mole holes and some mouse paths out there. Probably it was in a good spot to see what happened and yet remain under cover.

I was very pleased to be so close to one of these raptors.

Photo: it was quite dim, so this was shot at a high ISO 2500. My camera gets rather noisy over ISO 1600, so a lot of noise reduction had to be used, which reduced the sharpness.___

posted image

2016-07-27 07:00:46 (31 comments; 5 reshares; 276 +1s; )Open 

Something New (for me)

I hadn't encountered this behavior before. A black kite ( milvus migrans ) on the ground in the woods. I was walking through a local river valley (Remstal) and on a meadow next to woods. I heard something in the woods and immediately stood still to look. I thought maybe there was a deer near me. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the shade, but when they finally did I saw a bird shape in the area I was scanning. A rather large bird in fact.

I was only able to get two photos and yes, there are branches and leaves between us. This is just how it is most of the time in nature. I'm pretty sure the kite was watching for rodents nearby on the meadow. There were lots of mole holes and some mouse paths out there. Probably it was in a good spot to see what happened and yet remain under cover.

I was very pleased to be so close to one of... more »

Something New (for me)

I hadn't encountered this behavior before. A black kite ( milvus migrans ) on the ground in the woods. I was walking through a local river valley (Remstal) and on a meadow next to woods. I heard something in the woods and immediately stood still to look. I thought maybe there was a deer near me. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the shade, but when they finally did I saw a bird shape in the area I was scanning. A rather large bird in fact.

I was only able to get two photos and yes, there are branches and leaves between us. This is just how it is most of the time in nature. I'm pretty sure the kite was watching for rodents nearby on the meadow. There were lots of mole holes and some mouse paths out there. Probably it was in a good spot to see what happened and yet remain under cover.

I was very pleased to be so close to one of these raptors.

Photo: it was quite dim, so this was shot at a high ISO 2500. My camera gets rather noisy over ISO 1600, so a lot of noise reduction had to be used, which reduced the sharpness.___

posted image

2016-07-26 22:00:03 (26 comments; 5 reshares; 120 +1s; )Open 

Very Concerning

comparison of the average number of butterflies at sites regularly monitored during the periods 1997–2001 and 2010–2014 shows that the number of overwintering monarchs fell by 74%.

Very Concerning

comparison of the average number of butterflies at sites regularly monitored during the periods 1997–2001 and 2010–2014 shows that the number of overwintering monarchs fell by 74%.___

posted image

2016-07-25 20:20:56 (8 comments; 6 reshares; 167 +1s; )Open 

Dinosaur Scultpures

+Shayna Keyles interviewed David Alden about his life-sized sculptures. +Emily Willoughby's artwork was also one of the sources he looked at when designing the works.

Dinosaur Scultpures

+Shayna Keyles interviewed David Alden about his life-sized sculptures. +Emily Willoughby's artwork was also one of the sources he looked at when designing the works.___

posted image

2016-07-24 21:44:23 (19 comments; 5 reshares; 203 +1s; )Open 

Love is in the Air

At least that is my interpretation. I was out scouting a new location for nature photos today to familiarize myself a bit with the area and what to expect. At one point I found a small pond full of plants and insects. There were lots of butterflies and bees at the edge. I started taking photos of the butterflies flitting about. Looking at today's photos on my computer, I believe that I documented a steamy butterfly romance.

Photos
1. female presenting and male hurrying to her
2. making baby butterflies
3. parting is such sweet sorrow

Love is in the Air

At least that is my interpretation. I was out scouting a new location for nature photos today to familiarize myself a bit with the area and what to expect. At one point I found a small pond full of plants and insects. There were lots of butterflies and bees at the edge. I started taking photos of the butterflies flitting about. Looking at today's photos on my computer, I believe that I documented a steamy butterfly romance.

Photos
1. female presenting and male hurrying to her
2. making baby butterflies
3. parting is such sweet sorrow___

posted image

2016-07-23 15:20:00 (41 comments; 6 reshares; 224 +1s; )Open 

New Cat on the Block

Look at Sonic the new cat on our block. ;-) Sonic ran up and curled up under a guest's car in our driveway. I had to get on the ground with a flashlight to make sure that the undercarriage wouldn't squish Sonic. We had tried using a broom, but Sonic wasn't having anyone move him.

The maneuver was a matter of millimeters, but no hedgehogs were hurt. I picked up our wild guest with a broom and a snowshovel and found it a cozy spot in the underbrush next to a park.

Happy #Caturday , esp. +Sean Heffernan !

New Cat on the Block

Look at Sonic the new cat on our block. ;-) Sonic ran up and curled up under a guest's car in our driveway. I had to get on the ground with a flashlight to make sure that the undercarriage wouldn't squish Sonic. We had tried using a broom, but Sonic wasn't having anyone move him.

The maneuver was a matter of millimeters, but no hedgehogs were hurt. I picked up our wild guest with a broom and a snowshovel and found it a cozy spot in the underbrush next to a park.

Happy #Caturday , esp. +Sean Heffernan !___

posted image

2016-07-22 07:00:29 (8 comments; 8 reshares; 119 +1s; )Open 

A Fascinating Story

This is interesting for two reasons. One is the science of lichens - definitely a breakthrough. The other reason is human interest.

No, a guy didn't just go outside of his trailer home and make a scientific breakthrough as the title seems to imply. He actually studied and became a Ph.D., but it's interesting and reinforces my belief that we have lots of untapped potential if we would give people opportunities to study.

h/t +Marko Bosscher .

"In the 150 years since Schwendener, biologists have tried in vain to grow lichens in laboratories. Whenever they artificially united the fungus and the alga, the two partners would never fully recreate their natural structures. It was as if something was missing—and Spribille might have discovered it."___A Fascinating Story

This is interesting for two reasons. One is the science of lichens - definitely a breakthrough. The other reason is human interest.

No, a guy didn't just go outside of his trailer home and make a scientific breakthrough as the title seems to imply. He actually studied and became a Ph.D., but it's interesting and reinforces my belief that we have lots of untapped potential if we would give people opportunities to study.

h/t +Marko Bosscher .

posted image

2016-07-22 06:41:51 (6 comments; 9 reshares; 99 +1s; )Open 

Safely Storing Carbon Dioxide Underground

+Jonathan Trinastic reports on an experiment in Iceland, which showed carbon dioxide could be safely stored underground. In fact the process to lock in the CO2 was much faster than computer models predicted.

Safely Storing Carbon Dioxide Underground

+Jonathan Trinastic reports on an experiment in Iceland, which showed carbon dioxide could be safely stored underground. In fact the process to lock in the CO2 was much faster than computer models predicted.___

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2016-07-21 06:56:01 (13 comments; 2 reshares; 73 +1s; )Open 

One of many encounters

If you plant lavender they will come. :-) I'm constantly surrounded by our helpful little friends. They really love the lavender!

One of many encounters

If you plant lavender they will come. :-) I'm constantly surrounded by our helpful little friends. They really love the lavender!___

posted image

2016-07-20 07:07:27 (16 comments; 4 reshares; 160 +1s; )Open 

A Stunning Book

It was my great pleasure to receive a prepublication hardcopy of Galápagos: Preserving Darwin's Legacy 2nd edition from Bloomsbury last month.

Galápagos is a rare book in my experience. It's an anthology of articles by experts accompanied by excellent photos, most of which were taken by environmental photographer Tui de Roy, who also gave editorial direction to the book.

This book will definitely make a great gift. More information is available in the article on +GotScience.org . I'm also happy to answer questions you may have about the book, as space is limited in a review. With well over 20 topical chapters I could only pick a few to briefly discuss.

Thanks to +Kate Stone and +Jess Romaine  for getting the review ready so quickly (and finding an image to accompany it). I was about 10 days behind my schedule.

A Stunning Book

It was my great pleasure to receive a prepublication hardcopy of Galápagos: Preserving Darwin's Legacy 2nd edition from Bloomsbury last month.

Galápagos is a rare book in my experience. It's an anthology of articles by experts accompanied by excellent photos, most of which were taken by environmental photographer Tui de Roy, who also gave editorial direction to the book.

This book will definitely make a great gift. More information is available in the article on +GotScience.org . I'm also happy to answer questions you may have about the book, as space is limited in a review. With well over 20 topical chapters I could only pick a few to briefly discuss.

Thanks to +Kate Stone and +Jess Romaine  for getting the review ready so quickly (and finding an image to accompany it). I was about 10 days behind my schedule.___

posted image

2016-07-19 20:25:45 (24 comments; 10 reshares; 174 +1s; )Open 

Why Crush Gets a Stomach Ache

It's not from jellyfish. They're good for these turtles but our trash isn't.
+Emily Rhode updates us on a recent study conducted by Japanese scientists about turtles consuming plastic.

Why Crush Gets a Stomach Ache

It's not from jellyfish. They're good for these turtles but our trash isn't.
+Emily Rhode updates us on a recent study conducted by Japanese scientists about turtles consuming plastic.___

posted image

2016-07-17 20:37:29 (13 comments; 3 reshares; 75 +1s; )Open 

Saturday Evening

I was hoping the plane would cross in front of the moon, but this worked out pretty well anyway. This was just luck, but I suppose I could plan for such photos in the future. one or two days a month will provide a similar window.

Have a great start to the week!

Saturday Evening

I was hoping the plane would cross in front of the moon, but this worked out pretty well anyway. This was just luck, but I suppose I could plan for such photos in the future. one or two days a month will provide a similar window.

Have a great start to the week!___

posted image

2016-07-16 23:55:17 (17 comments; 0 reshares; 59 +1s; )Open 

Has That Effect

Black Forest Cake: need I say more?

Has That Effect

Black Forest Cake: need I say more?___

posted image

2016-07-12 22:30:58 (8 comments; 6 reshares; 166 +1s; )Open 

+Neha Jain shares a study on color constancy and chickens, but the information could shed light on how humans, goldfish and even honeybees also have developed and use color constancy.

+GotScience.org 

+Neha Jain shares a study on color constancy and chickens, but the information could shed light on how humans, goldfish and even honeybees also have developed and use color constancy.

+GotScience.org ___

posted image

2016-07-12 22:08:37 (5 comments; 6 reshares; 126 +1s; )Open 

Another Success

It is possible for animals and plants to recover in their native range if given a chance. +Yvi San shares information about the striking Atala butterfly which lives in the southeastern corner of Florida. Similar to the California Pipevine Swallowtail, the Atala is highly dependent upon a particular plant. With people leaving wild coontie plants ( Zamia floridana ) alone and even planting them in gardens, the butterfly has been able to reestablish itself in parts of its native range.

Please read more in +Yvi San 's article and collection. You might want to follow her profile too.

Another Success

It is possible for animals and plants to recover in their native range if given a chance. +Yvi San shares information about the striking Atala butterfly which lives in the southeastern corner of Florida. Similar to the California Pipevine Swallowtail, the Atala is highly dependent upon a particular plant. With people leaving wild coontie plants ( Zamia floridana ) alone and even planting them in gardens, the butterfly has been able to reestablish itself in parts of its native range.

Please read more in +Yvi San 's article and collection. You might want to follow her profile too.___

posted image

2016-07-12 21:57:12 (20 comments; 12 reshares; 214 +1s; )Open 

Elusive No More

Wow! What can I say? Trilobites are one of my favorite fossil creatures (I have one from Morocco on my desk.), but this is a true beauty. Another reason I'm happy is that it was posted by the +American Museum of Natural History , which makes the great "Shelf Life Videos".

h/t to +Kate Stone !

As #TrilobiteTuesday’s go, this is one of the most elusive specimens in the world! Since the mid-19th Century, a unique group of trilobites have been recognized from a small number of Devonian formations that ring the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia. Almost always found in hard limestone concretions that feature both the positive and negative halves of the specimen, these 370 million year-old fossils have long been a favorite of trilobite collectors around the globe as well as the subject of intense scientific study. Dozens of species (including the Vogesina aspera pictured here) have been identified from these zones, with various calmonids, lichids and homalonotids among them. The formations that produce these specimens are located at a height of 12,000 feet in the Bolivian altiplano, making them among the most inaccessible and intriguing trilobites in the world.
More about Trilobites: http://bit.ly/29yumbO___Elusive No More

Wow! What can I say? Trilobites are one of my favorite fossil creatures (I have one from Morocco on my desk.), but this is a true beauty. Another reason I'm happy is that it was posted by the +American Museum of Natural History , which makes the great "Shelf Life Videos".

h/t to +Kate Stone !

posted image

2016-07-10 14:25:53 (6 comments; 1 reshares; 60 +1s; )Open 

Bees Everywhere

I had bees of all kinds surrounding me today. I went and sat in the middle of my lavender and observed them for somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. I didn't keep track of the time.

There were all kinds of bees: tiny bees, bumblebees, honey bees, solitary bees, and even a black wasp that like sunning herself on my leg. There must have been at least two dozen bees around me at any time. I could see them up very close, closer in fact than my camera will focus.

Really good news: I didn't see any sign of mites this year (I did see some last year). I also noticed different markings on the bees making me wonder if they were from different hives or even different species or just different ages? Some had bright orange abdomens with thinner than normal stripes, some were golden-blonde, some were a subdued sandy brown. The undersides sometimes had... more »

Bees Everywhere

I had bees of all kinds surrounding me today. I went and sat in the middle of my lavender and observed them for somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. I didn't keep track of the time.

There were all kinds of bees: tiny bees, bumblebees, honey bees, solitary bees, and even a black wasp that like sunning herself on my leg. There must have been at least two dozen bees around me at any time. I could see them up very close, closer in fact than my camera will focus.

Really good news: I didn't see any sign of mites this year (I did see some last year). I also noticed different markings on the bees making me wonder if they were from different hives or even different species or just different ages? Some had bright orange abdomens with thinner than normal stripes, some were golden-blonde, some were a subdued sandy brown. The undersides sometimes had almost no markings, sometimes it looked like a checkerboard. There are a lot more variations than I previously noticed.

Photo: one of many bee photos I took today. I played with a prism effect for fun.___

posted image

2016-07-10 11:18:21 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 49 +1s; )Open 

There is no time

Warm sun above
Purple lavender abounds
Bees buzz and hop from flower to flower
Birds sing, chirp, and flutter past
A butterfly flaps by
Every wing beat tracing glowing arcs
in the fragrant air
Time is just a series of nows
There is nowhere, nowhen else
Just this moment
And it is all I could ask for.

There is no time

Warm sun above
Purple lavender abounds
Bees buzz and hop from flower to flower
Birds sing, chirp, and flutter past
A butterfly flaps by
Every wing beat tracing glowing arcs
in the fragrant air
Time is just a series of nows
There is nowhere, nowhen else
Just this moment
And it is all I could ask for.___

posted image

2016-07-08 22:41:30 (57 comments; 24 reshares; 254 +1s; )Open 

Doing it Right

Bringing back the California Pipevine Swallowtail to San Francisco.


thanks for sharing +Trey Pitsenberger 

*One person, one species *
 
Here is a great story about one mans fascination with butterflies. For centuries, the California pipevine swallowtail — or, Battus philenor hirsuta — called San Francisco home. As development increased in the early 20th century, the butterfly slowly began to disappear. Today it is a rare sight. Then aquatic biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, Tim Wong decided to do something about that.
 
"He researched the butterfly and learned that when in caterpillar form, it only feeds on one plant: the California pipevine (Aristolochia californica), an equivalently rare flora in the city. 'Finally, I was able to find this plant in the San Francisco Botanical Garden [in Golden Gate Park],' Wong says. 'And they allowed me to take a few clippings of the plant.' Then in his own backyard, using self-taught techniques, he created a butterfly paradise."
 
The importance of native plant species should not be underestimated. What Tim Wong has done is show that with the right tools, and attitude, one person can change the course of history for one species. If people in the city were to start planting more native plants, the decline of The California pipevine swallowtail in San Francisco could be halted, and even reversed.
 
#rare 
#butterflies 
#california___Doing it Right

Bringing back the California Pipevine Swallowtail to San Francisco.


thanks for sharing +Trey Pitsenberger 

posted image

2016-07-08 06:49:38 (12 comments; 4 reshares; 56 +1s; )Open 

Alive

The grass whispered under his body.

He put his arm down, feeling the sheath of fuzz on it, and, far away, below, his toes creaking in his shoes.

The wind sighed over his shelled ears. The world slipped bright over the glassy round of his eyeballs like images sparked in a crystal sphere.

Flowers were sun and fiery spots of sky strewn through the woodland. Birds flickered like skipped stones across the vast inverted pond of heaven. His breath raked over his teeth, going in ice, coming out fire. Insects shocked the air with electric clearness.

Ten thousand individual hairs grew a millionth of an inch on his head. He heard the twin hearts beating in each ear, the third heart beating in his throat, the two hearts throbbing his wrists, the real heart pounding his chest. The million pores on his body opened.

I'm really alive! he... more »

Alive

The grass whispered under his body.

He put his arm down, feeling the sheath of fuzz on it, and, far away, below, his toes creaking in his shoes.

The wind sighed over his shelled ears. The world slipped bright over the glassy round of his eyeballs like images sparked in a crystal sphere.

Flowers were sun and fiery spots of sky strewn through the woodland. Birds flickered like skipped stones across the vast inverted pond of heaven. His breath raked over his teeth, going in ice, coming out fire. Insects shocked the air with electric clearness.

Ten thousand individual hairs grew a millionth of an inch on his head. He heard the twin hearts beating in each ear, the third heart beating in his throat, the two hearts throbbing his wrists, the real heart pounding his chest. The million pores on his body opened.

I'm really alive! he thought. I never knew it before, or if I did I don't remember!

( Ray Bradbury , Dandelion Wine )___

posted image

2016-07-07 20:34:40 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 26 +1s; )Open 

Bees Impacted by Garden Pesticides

Gardeners Please Be Careful with Pesticides

Bees don't just pollinate agricultural crops, but as many of us can testify first-hand they love to visit gardens too. According to this study home use of pesticides is a major contributor to pesticide contamination of pollen collected by bees.

h/t +Kate Stone ___Bees Impacted by Garden Pesticides

posted image

2016-07-07 20:31:08 (6 comments; 6 reshares; 77 +1s; )Open 

Gardeners Please Be Careful with Pesticides

Bees don't just pollinate agricultural crops, but as many of us can testify first-hand they love to visit gardens too. According to this study home use of pesticides is a major contributor to pesticide contamination of pollen collected by bees.

h/t +Kate Stone 

Gardeners Please Be Careful with Pesticides

Bees don't just pollinate agricultural crops, but as many of us can testify first-hand they love to visit gardens too. According to this study home use of pesticides is a major contributor to pesticide contamination of pollen collected by bees.

h/t +Kate Stone ___

posted image

2016-07-07 06:47:24 (10 comments; 9 reshares; 144 +1s; )Open 

Water is a Cocktail

A lot of progress has been made to treat waste water even including biological processes. Water quality appears good, but more is needed. We are flooding our environment with pharmaceuticals, chemicals (including caffeine and nicotine), and antibiotics. These compounds are affecting bacteria, plants, insects, and animals in the ecosystems around us.

One of the interesting parts of the study that +Shayna Keyles reports on is that instead of analyzing treated waste water downstream of a major urban area like Atlanta this study looked at 59 wadeable headwater streams in the Piedmont region.

Water is a Cocktail

A lot of progress has been made to treat waste water even including biological processes. Water quality appears good, but more is needed. We are flooding our environment with pharmaceuticals, chemicals (including caffeine and nicotine), and antibiotics. These compounds are affecting bacteria, plants, insects, and animals in the ecosystems around us.

One of the interesting parts of the study that +Shayna Keyles reports on is that instead of analyzing treated waste water downstream of a major urban area like Atlanta this study looked at 59 wadeable headwater streams in the Piedmont region.___

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2016-07-05 22:34:56 (3 comments; 10 reshares; 134 +1s; )Open 

Fly Like an Eagle

A Golden Eagle takes a camera aloft above Scotland.

via +PetaPixel .

Fly Like an Eagle

A Golden Eagle takes a camera aloft above Scotland.

via +PetaPixel .___

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2016-07-05 06:23:52 (10 comments; 0 reshares; 52 +1s; )Open 

Bebenhausen

It's always a nice spot to visit even on a cloudy day. Bebenhausen is a formerly Cistercian monastery built around 1180. It's located just north of Tübingen in the Schönbuch Forest.

Have a great Tuesday! For many of you in the U.S. it will be a short week, so even though it may feel like Monday, you're 20% closer to the weekend than it seems. :-)

Bebenhausen

It's always a nice spot to visit even on a cloudy day. Bebenhausen is a formerly Cistercian monastery built around 1180. It's located just north of Tübingen in the Schönbuch Forest.

Have a great Tuesday! For many of you in the U.S. it will be a short week, so even though it may feel like Monday, you're 20% closer to the weekend than it seems. :-)___

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2016-07-03 16:00:23 (5 comments; 1 reshares; 30 +1s; )Open 

Áfram Ísland

Good luck!

Áfram Ísland

Good luck!___

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2016-07-03 09:56:28 (17 comments; 3 reshares; 35 +1s; )Open 

Worth a try

Maybe this is why I shouldn't have any free time to read things on the internet. I think I might get a little snarky if I don't watch my intake.

Worth a try

Maybe this is why I shouldn't have any free time to read things on the internet. I think I might get a little snarky if I don't watch my intake.___

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2016-07-03 09:35:29 (4 comments; 3 reshares; 61 +1s; )Open 

Cool Cat

This cat was indifferent to all the lesser beings around him. He had his spot, his attitude, and nothing was going to make him even twitch a whisker. One cool cat!

Cool Cat

This cat was indifferent to all the lesser beings around him. He had his spot, his attitude, and nothing was going to make him even twitch a whisker. One cool cat!___

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2016-07-03 09:33:45 (18 comments; 0 reshares; 44 +1s; )Open 

Chillin'

Taking it easy today. My work-life balance has been all work the past 2-2.5 weeks, but I think it will be better again soon. I hope to be more active again with photography, science, and GPlus in the coming weeks.

I've got a great book on the Galapagos Islands to read and review, a book of poetry from +miri dunn Who Will Love the Crow? , a collection of science papers about Scipionyx (unfortunately my photos are not the quality I wanted, because I grabbed the wrong lens and left my macro behind...), and friends visiting. It should be a good month!

Have a great Sunday and I'll try to catch up with you soon!

Chillin'

Taking it easy today. My work-life balance has been all work the past 2-2.5 weeks, but I think it will be better again soon. I hope to be more active again with photography, science, and GPlus in the coming weeks.

I've got a great book on the Galapagos Islands to read and review, a book of poetry from +miri dunn Who Will Love the Crow? , a collection of science papers about Scipionyx (unfortunately my photos are not the quality I wanted, because I grabbed the wrong lens and left my macro behind...), and friends visiting. It should be a good month!

Have a great Sunday and I'll try to catch up with you soon!___

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2016-07-02 17:59:03 (30 comments; 0 reshares; 68 +1s; )Open 

Ready for the Match

Optimistic. 

Ready for the Match

Optimistic. ___

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2016-06-29 20:49:58 (11 comments; 6 reshares; 50 +1s; )Open 

An Electric Buzz

We've known for a while bees react to electric fields around flowers. Now scientists have done a detailed study using lasers to figure out how.

h/t +Kate Stone 

An Electric Buzz

We've known for a while bees react to electric fields around flowers. Now scientists have done a detailed study using lasers to figure out how.

h/t +Kate Stone ___

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2016-06-27 05:48:20 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 39 +1s; )Open 

This goes under the blossoms category. I think that is a fly photobombing my subject. :-)

A flower blossoms for its own joy (Oscar Wilde)

We could all use a little joy to start out the week, right? I saw this one (I'll call it a cornflower, but I'm not sure) mixed in with some poppies.___This goes under the blossoms category. I think that is a fly photobombing my subject. :-)

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2016-06-27 05:46:57 (9 comments; 2 reshares; 55 +1s; )Open 

A flower blossoms for its own joy (Oscar Wilde)

We could all use a little joy to start out the week, right? I saw this one (I'll call it a cornflower, but I'm not sure) mixed in with some poppies.

A flower blossoms for its own joy (Oscar Wilde)

We could all use a little joy to start out the week, right? I saw this one (I'll call it a cornflower, but I'm not sure) mixed in with some poppies.___

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2016-06-26 21:33:18 (51 comments; 0 reshares; 31 +1s; )Open 

Your Favorite Lines from a Song?

GPlus has been kind of quite for me on the engagement front. So I thought I'd ask something almost everyone has an opinion on. What are some of your favorite lines from songs (suggesting to limit to max. 5).

Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty came up on my playlist tonight. Here's mine to get this started:

This city desert makes you feel so cold
It's got so many people, but it's got no soul



Photo Credit. Copyright Mike Quinn and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. (2011)

Your Favorite Lines from a Song?

GPlus has been kind of quite for me on the engagement front. So I thought I'd ask something almost everyone has an opinion on. What are some of your favorite lines from songs (suggesting to limit to max. 5).

Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty came up on my playlist tonight. Here's mine to get this started:

This city desert makes you feel so cold
It's got so many people, but it's got no soul



Photo Credit. Copyright Mike Quinn and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. (2011)___

posted image

2016-06-26 17:23:27 (5 comments; 0 reshares; 23 +1s; )Open 

Tina's Tart Cherry Brownies

I finally got around to making +Tina Vesić 's fudge brownies with cherry and honey topping.

Tina's recipe

https://tinascookings.blogspot.de/2016/06/fudge-brownies-with-cherry-honey-topping.html

My version

I tried to do it like Tina's directions, but I added in a bit more flour (~120g), because I like it a bit more towards the cake side.

For the cherry topping mixture, I used a single lime instead of lemon juice. I also used forest honey. I'm not sure what kind Tina used in her verison.

Verdict

It turned out very well. I cooked the brownies a bit too long, but you won't make that mistake. The topping is tart, but very tasty.

Y'all enjoy the pictures. I'm going back for a second helping. :-)

Tina's Tart Cherry Brownies

I finally got around to making +Tina Vesić 's fudge brownies with cherry and honey topping.

Tina's recipe

https://tinascookings.blogspot.de/2016/06/fudge-brownies-with-cherry-honey-topping.html

My version

I tried to do it like Tina's directions, but I added in a bit more flour (~120g), because I like it a bit more towards the cake side.

For the cherry topping mixture, I used a single lime instead of lemon juice. I also used forest honey. I'm not sure what kind Tina used in her verison.

Verdict

It turned out very well. I cooked the brownies a bit too long, but you won't make that mistake. The topping is tart, but very tasty.

Y'all enjoy the pictures. I'm going back for a second helping. :-)___

posted image

2016-06-26 17:23:13 (3 comments; 5 reshares; 29 +1s; )Open 

Tina's Tart Cherry Brownies

I finally got around to making +Tina Vesić 's fudge brownies with cherry and honey topping.

Tina's recipe

https://tinascookings.blogspot.de/2016/06/fudge-brownies-with-cherry-honey-topping.html

My version

I tried to do it like Tina's directions, but I added in a bit more flour (~120g), because I like it a bit more towards the cake side.

For the cherry topping mixture, I used a single lime instead of lemon juice. I also used forest honey. I'm not sure what kind Tina used in her verison.

Verdict

It turned out very well. I cooked the brownies a bit too long, but you won't make that mistake. The topping is tart, but very tasty.

Y'all enjoy the pictures. I'm going back for a second helping. :-)

Tina's Tart Cherry Brownies

I finally got around to making +Tina Vesić 's fudge brownies with cherry and honey topping.

Tina's recipe

https://tinascookings.blogspot.de/2016/06/fudge-brownies-with-cherry-honey-topping.html

My version

I tried to do it like Tina's directions, but I added in a bit more flour (~120g), because I like it a bit more towards the cake side.

For the cherry topping mixture, I used a single lime instead of lemon juice. I also used forest honey. I'm not sure what kind Tina used in her verison.

Verdict

It turned out very well. I cooked the brownies a bit too long, but you won't make that mistake. The topping is tart, but very tasty.

Y'all enjoy the pictures. I'm going back for a second helping. :-)___

posted image

2016-06-26 09:21:27 (26 comments; 17 reshares; 229 +1s; )Open 

The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water (Karl von Frisch, Nobel Prize winner and decoder of bee dances)

This is a fascinating article about bees' ability to learn and store memories. Yes, bees sleep and probably dream. ( I did not know this )

h/t +George Cohn 

The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water (Karl von Frisch, Nobel Prize winner and decoder of bee dances)

This is a fascinating article about bees' ability to learn and store memories. Yes, bees sleep and probably dream. ( I did not know this )

h/t +George Cohn ___

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2016-06-26 09:20:46 (2 comments; 25 reshares; 81 +1s; )Open 

The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water (Karl von Frisch, Nobel Prize winner and decoder of bee dances)

This is a fascinating article about bees' ability to learn and store memories. Yes, bees sleep and probably dream. ( I did not know this )

h/t +George Cohn 

The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water (Karl von Frisch, Nobel Prize winner and decoder of bee dances)

This is a fascinating article about bees' ability to learn and store memories. Yes, bees sleep and probably dream. ( I did not know this )

h/t +George Cohn ___

posted image

2016-06-24 23:58:58 (24 comments; 0 reshares; 56 +1s; )Open 

Survived a Scavenger Hunt

TL;DR >> very popular photography challenge by Chrysta Rae. This was my first time. I think it can help to develop as a photographer. You definitely join an exuberant community. In the end you get out what you put in. Check it out when the next sign-ups come out.

Long Version

The very popular Scavenger Hunts by Chrysta Rae are an exciting event for many photographers on GPlus. I remember trying to get into some several years ago, but the 500 slots were full before I even saw the invite. This round (18th) several GPlus photographers, who are also friends tagged me and helped me get in before the deadline. I think I also had some luck being online at the right time.

Here are a few thoughts about my experience.

Why do it?

Because everyone gets the same prompts and is told to go off... more »

Survived a Scavenger Hunt

TL;DR >> very popular photography challenge by Chrysta Rae. This was my first time. I think it can help to develop as a photographer. You definitely join an exuberant community. In the end you get out what you put in. Check it out when the next sign-ups come out.

Long Version

The very popular Scavenger Hunts by Chrysta Rae are an exciting event for many photographers on GPlus. I remember trying to get into some several years ago, but the 500 slots were full before I even saw the invite. This round (18th) several GPlus photographers, who are also friends tagged me and helped me get in before the deadline. I think I also had some luck being online at the right time.

Here are a few thoughts about my experience.

Why do it?

Because everyone gets the same prompts and is told to go off and give it their best shot. I thought it would be a way to see and try different things than I normally do. Some people had simply breathtaking works. By submitting a photo for each topic (even though most were not good), I ensured that I would view all the photos in each of the albums. I'm glad I did, because there were some really beautiful interpretations in there.

The Good

1. A Challenge
2. A helpful, fun-loving community
3. As mentioned, I saw some stunning, even breath-taking work. Not only a high degree of technical competence, but artistry.

The Meh

1. I wasn't getting information, so I had to turn on notifications. OMG - I have 779 email notifications in a special Scavenger Hunt folder. I get lots of mails as it is. I didn't really want this noise level. However this seemed like the only way to keep in the loop. Since it was my first time, I really didn't know how anything worked and felt quite uncertain, esp. because I never got the community invite (thanks Aline van Wijk for making sure I learned about it).

2. A lot of waiting.

The Not So Good

1. Mostly technology and process related. I think separating out Google Photos into a separate product has probably broken some things that worked better in previous hunts. Based on what I read it looked to me like starting with hunt 17 (?) sharing photos / albums became confusing. I still haven't understood why I shared my album with Chrysta and never got an acknowledgement then later had to share it with one of her "Dream-Team" (the wonderful Laurie Novak drew my name/number). Sharing the album with Laurie didn't let her comment to give me feedback, so I had to do a post with all 10 photos. Wouldn't it have made sense to just do it that way in the first place? Anyway even if I don't get the process, the changes in Google definitely caused problems and confusion for multiple people sharing photos.

Should You Do It?

It depends. I think it is worth joining in. Even if you just take snapshots, the community offers a lot of encouragement and tips. I also discovered photographers that I hadn't bumped into before. I was delighted to add them to my photography circle and start seeing their works in my stream. Also, there are definite positives to having a list and a deadline. Interesting things emerge.

How Did I Do? How Do I Feel?

Middlin'. My shots are "ok". Technically usually average or better, but lacking in creativity compared to the top folks.

Old dawg don't like new-fangled tricks

I subjectively feel there is a bias rewarding the use of models, props, studio, and mad PS skillz. As a shy loner and guy that prefers hand-held mostly nature photos, I'm an odd man out.

Get out what you put in

Let's be fair here. I'm a lazy, "good enough" photographer. Others were clearly driven to be excellent. They had talent, creative vision, and discipline to really create great works. Hat's off to them! I am absolutely delighted and amazed by many of the creations. It was an eye-opener for me.


Over yet?

Yep. I took part, I learned, I slightly left my comfort zone.

Photo: this was in the big shopping passage near the Duomo in Milano. I didn't use the photo as my Architecture shot in the contest, because I liked a different one better.___

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2016-06-24 06:45:46 (22 comments; 1 reshares; 74 +1s; )Open 

Enough to Share

The cherries did well this year. Some of the first ones got too much water, but most of the rest turned out nicely. Pesticide free, fresh from the tree: they tasted good to me and the birds loved them too. We had plenty to share. Some blackbirds got so greedy they landed and ate just a meter or so away from me.

Sorry I haven't been on much. It's one of those intense times when I'm almost all work and no play.

Have a great Friday!

Enough to Share

The cherries did well this year. Some of the first ones got too much water, but most of the rest turned out nicely. Pesticide free, fresh from the tree: they tasted good to me and the birds loved them too. We had plenty to share. Some blackbirds got so greedy they landed and ate just a meter or so away from me.

Sorry I haven't been on much. It's one of those intense times when I'm almost all work and no play.

Have a great Friday!___

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2016-06-21 22:01:12 (2 comments; 2 reshares; 98 +1s; )Open 

#wordlessonwednesday  

#wordlessonwednesday  ___

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2016-06-21 20:42:36 (5 comments; 0 reshares; 21 +1s; )Open 

Nice to see in my inbox

I don't know why, but somehow seeing this in my inbox was pretty cool. Oh, I know that lots of other people got this too, but still I felt special seeing an email asking me about life on Mars. I mean it's a great question to be thinking about!

Nice to see in my inbox

I don't know why, but somehow seeing this in my inbox was pretty cool. Oh, I know that lots of other people got this too, but still I felt special seeing an email asking me about life on Mars. I mean it's a great question to be thinking about!___

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2016-06-20 20:38:17 (22 comments; 16 reshares; 268 +1s; )Open 

Green is the Color of Money

At least in the United States green is the color of paper money. Green in the sense of ecology is also becoming more and more an economic consideration whether in lower emission vehicles, renewable energy, or vegetation in cities.

I'm delighted to see that people are recognizing tree-lined streets as an economic benefit too. While it will always be possible to calculate different values, indeed some of us might consider trees "priceless", quantifying the benefits is a good sign. It means people are giving more thought to just how much trees mean in a city.

Read more in the article below.

P.S. Trees also help combat urban heat islands (an article I wrote, which was published last week).

Green is the Color of Money

At least in the United States green is the color of paper money. Green in the sense of ecology is also becoming more and more an economic consideration whether in lower emission vehicles, renewable energy, or vegetation in cities.

I'm delighted to see that people are recognizing tree-lined streets as an economic benefit too. While it will always be possible to calculate different values, indeed some of us might consider trees "priceless", quantifying the benefits is a good sign. It means people are giving more thought to just how much trees mean in a city.

Read more in the article below.

P.S. Trees also help combat urban heat islands (an article I wrote, which was published last week).___

posted image

2016-06-20 07:07:18 (36 comments; 2 reshares; 101 +1s; )Open 

Little Known Gem

This is Castle Lichtenstein near where I live. I was showing a guest from Italy around. The weather wasn't very cooperative, but at least it stopped raining while we visited here.

The castle gets it's name from the light colored stones ("White Jura Formation").

There originally was a castle near hear, but it was destroyed in 1377. In 1840-1842 this Romantic, fantasy castle was built by Wilhelm of Württemberg. It is said to be inspired by Wilhelm Hauff's novel Lichtenstein.

Definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.


Additional Reading

Castle webpage (English) : plenty of pictures and history
http://www.schloss-lichtenstein.de/en/

Wilhelm Hauff's novel Lichtenstein (heavil yinfluenced by Sir Walter Scott)more »

Little Known Gem

This is Castle Lichtenstein near where I live. I was showing a guest from Italy around. The weather wasn't very cooperative, but at least it stopped raining while we visited here.

The castle gets it's name from the light colored stones ("White Jura Formation").

There originally was a castle near hear, but it was destroyed in 1377. In 1840-1842 this Romantic, fantasy castle was built by Wilhelm of Württemberg. It is said to be inspired by Wilhelm Hauff's novel Lichtenstein.

Definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.


Additional Reading

Castle webpage (English) : plenty of pictures and history
http://www.schloss-lichtenstein.de/en/

Wilhelm Hauff's novel Lichtenstein (heavil yinfluenced by Sir Walter Scott)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichtenstein_(novel)___

posted image

2016-06-17 06:50:42 (20 comments; 7 reshares; 131 +1s; )Open 

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

Take a bow, +Emily Rhode !

It's a true delight to share this news. Emily's article was featured on Nature ! (but we still want you to read the original on GotScience: http://www.gotscience.org/2016/06/desert-dust-harmful-marine-bacteria/ ) :-)

We really have so many fantastic contributors communicating about science and nature topics. Great editors make sure our work is understandable too. It's just amazing to me where +Kate Stone 's vision has led in such a short time.

Our very own Emily Rhode just had an article featured on Nature.com!

http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/eyes-on-environment/desert_dust_increases_harmful_marine___It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

Take a bow, +Emily Rhode !

It's a true delight to share this news. Emily's article was featured on Nature ! (but we still want you to read the original on GotScience: http://www.gotscience.org/2016/06/desert-dust-harmful-marine-bacteria/ ) :-)

We really have so many fantastic contributors communicating about science and nature topics. Great editors make sure our work is understandable too. It's just amazing to me where +Kate Stone 's vision has led in such a short time.

posted image

2016-06-16 06:30:40 (27 comments; 8 reshares; 187 +1s; )Open 

The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them. (Victor Hugo)

I felt like a raptor picture today.

The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them. (Victor Hugo)

I felt like a raptor picture today.___

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